The NFL Combine is both upheld as an integral part of the offseason and scouting process, being a place to receive valuable data and information on players up close and compare them to their peers on a level playing field and gain more information on a team’s plan of action in the 2019 offseason.
It’s also mocked by many as being a place where years of film go out the window when a guy in his underwear doesn’t run as fast as people thought he might, and misinformation can be rampant.
For example, take a look at this gem from a few years ago...
Text I received from a scout this morning: Matt Barkley will not get past the Arizona #Cardinals at No. 7 overall.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 24, 2013
Barkley ended up on the Cardinals after all. But after he was drafted in the 4th round and the team sent a conditional 7th round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for him.
How much was truth and how much was a lie, then? Clearly there was interest but not as much as many purported.
With the truth and lies aside let’s jump into the biggest five takeaways from the weekend:
- Kyler Murray is “definitely going to happen”
It was bandied about before the combine but at and after the combine the hype train for Arizona to trade Josh Rosen for Murray is at an unreal stage.
I think we're going to hear about a lot of teams/coaches that like Kyler Murray...— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 4, 2019
...but I don't think anyone after Arizona is going to have a chance to draft him.
Multiple mock drafts by every one of the top NFL draft analysts is now putting Murray at #1 overall.
What does this mean? Is Murray a Card, guaranteed?
Not so fast, say some:
Rich Eisen pouring some water on the Kyler Murray to Arizona fire.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) March 4, 2019
What’s the truth and what’s the lie?
The answer is probably a bit of both: Arizona might be seriously considering Kyler at #1 due to his upside, fit and relationship with Kliff. But to have it be a “done deal” and having reports of Kingsbury telling people of this personally seems sketchy at best. Whether or not they do indeed draft Murray, the NFL Combine is too soon to know for sure.
.@kentsomers tells @radiojody "I really doubt that Kliff Kingsbury is telling people in the league they're going to take Kyler Murray. If he's doing that, then he has no business being a head coach in the NFL."— Fox Sports 910 (@foxsports910) March 4, 2019
2. Nick Bosa equaled or bettered his brother’s athletic testing
Bosa put on a show, not blowing people away in terms of his 40, per se, but he checked just about every box that a #1 overall pick needed to check and did it with some explosive performances.
Nick Bosa bested all of his brother Joey's combine numbers except 3-cone. Nick was still top-10 edge with 7.10, but Joey had an absurd 6.89 time.— Brian Peacock (@BDPeacock) March 3, 2019
Joey Bosa’s 3-cone was better than 94% of other players in his range and it’s important to note that stats don’t equal NFL Production, but rather back up the film. And he’s slightly more explosive than Joey and checked each box.
In fact, he did even more then that by doing every single drill and test, unlike Josh Allen (no 40) and Quinnen Williams (no agility drills or bench press but ran almost as fast as Nick Bosa in the 40 at a much heavier weight)
Nick essentially needed to prove durability and if early reports that no red flags came up are true, he showed Arizona that he deserves consideration for the #1 pick.
3. Quinnen Williams’ speed at that size is a freak, but it was Brian Burns launched himself into territory for Arizona to consider him.
Quinnen’s 40 time was amazing:
Second 40 for Quinnen Williams— Nicholas McGee (@nicholasmcgee24) March 3, 2019
4.84 with a 1.67 (!!!!!!!!) 10-yard split pic.twitter.com/QzRHfjlBnm
But when Josh Allen didn’t do several drills, FSU Edge rusher Brian Burns did and goodness, he was impressive as an athlete.
#FSU EDGE Brian Burns Combine Recap:— Steve Frederick (@_SteveFrederick) March 5, 2019
The most impressive part of his weekend was the on-field drills. Looked smoother than the majority of WR/DBs...and better hands. pic.twitter.com/EiJIi9xCN6
The smoothness and athleticism for a productive player like Burns (who was thought to be 20 lbs. lighter in college) that can put on weight at 249 lbs, still run in the 4.5’s and look this smooth means that he’ll potentially launch himself into the top 5 after this weekend.
Brian Burns is so natural. Special player. pic.twitter.com/JZcmhm2nbQ— Jake (@SeedsofJake) March 3, 2019
Meaning that he’ll likely bear consideration for the Cardinals. Bosa still is likely the #1 player but don’t rule out Burns’ rising or if Arizona does end up moving back.
4. The Tight Ends, D.K. Metcalf debate and other receivers impressed
Is D.K. Metcalf overrated? He put up insane stats in every category except for the change of direction drills:
DK Metcalf with the craziest spider graph ever on Mockdraftable. pic.twitter.com/ej1QDsVEm3— RosterWatch (@RosterWatch) March 5, 2019
The nickname “Pac-Man” might be fitting, no? He was the story of the combine tying a record for the wide receiver bench press, a crazy vertical jump and then running a 4.33 40 yard dash...at 228 lbs. Many have noted that Tom Brady had better change of direction drills than Metcalf (his pro day might see him re-time this) but he was the biggest story of a lot of quality wide receivers.
Local ASU product N’Keal Harry matched Metcalf in the bench press and at his weight had a solid 40 time as well as Metcalf’s teammate, A.J. Brown. Andy Isabella (who has a Cardinals connection) ran a blazing 4.31 40 and the tight ends might have been even better.
Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant showcased first-round athleticism to go along with their crazy film to show off as fantastic receiving options and blockers at the position, and the tight end class in general also looks deep.
The Arizona Cardinals have big needs on the offensive line, but wide receiver and tight ends are aplenty, and they have needs there too. Expect the Cardinals to likely pick up one or more of these positions before Day 2 of the NFL Draft is done.
5. The Defensive backs and Running Backs were just okay this year
Only one running back, Alabama’s Josh Jacobs, ran in the 4.4’s and players like Elijah Holyfield put up a combine dud.
Elijah Holyfield gonna be a nice fullback in the NFL with those 40 times— My Name Jeff (@WheelzFL) March 1, 2019
The DB’s outside of Greedy Williams had some fast times but overall it’s not the strongest class, at least not like 2018 that had multiple first round defensive backs.
The fact that Arizona with David Johnson, Chase Edmonds with Patrick Peterson, Robert Alford, Budda Baker, DJ Swearinger and Antoine Bethea (and maybe could re-sign Tre Boston) seem set at the position is good news for Arizona.
They seem set and that means that they can pursue better players, and athletes, in this year’s draft.
What were YOUR biggest takeaways from the Combine? Do you think Kyler Murray is an Arizona Cardinal? Sound off in the comments below!
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